4 ways to boost UCP2 activity and target fat stores faster!

Wednesday, May 18, 2022. Author Alex Auld

Man jogging through a sunny park listening to music

How efficiently do you access and use fat for energy production? That’s the question that our recently updated Fuel Usage (UCP2) trait looks to address.  

Fuel Usage (UCP2) focuses on the expression of uncoupling protein 2, a mitochondrial protein that suppresses energy production systems that are reliant on glucose, therefore forcing the body to utilise alternative sources, including fatty acids.

Here are four action categories that you can follow to increase your UCP2 expression and more efficiently burn your fat stores to generate fuel.

 

1. Reduce your inflammation levels

Inflammation caused by stress, poor nutrition, or weight-related illness can reduce UCP2 expression, making it harder for your body to target fat stores for energy production. As well as addressing these overarching causes, supplementing with curcumin can help to reduce levels of inflammation and promote greater UCP2 activity.

Alternatively, add frozen blueberries to your breakfast, smoothies, or post-workout shake. Blueberries contain polyphenols, which can also help to reduce levels of inflammation.

 

2. Increase your intake of glutamine

A dietary factor that can limit UCP2 expression is the availability of the amino acid glutamine. Sardines are particularly rich in glutamine, so adding these to pasta or salads can help to promote greater UCP2 expression.

Other seafood items such as mackerel and prawns are also good sources of glutamine, as are dairy products and eggs.

With all of these being animal products, consuming enough glutamine can often be an issue for those following a vegan diet. In this case, supplementing with 5g of L-glutamine daily can ensure adequate levels of the amino acid.

 

3. Follow 14-hour fasting

One of the adaptations that you can expect to experience when you start to fast for periods of the day is that your body will become more accustomed to accessing the energy that it has stored, including your reserves of fatty acids. Fasting actually carries the effect of upregulating UCP2 activity, which allows you to access these fat stores more efficiently.

Try eating no later than 8pm and delaying your first calorie intake until 10am for a full 14-hour fast.

While the research shows that carriers of all genotypes will increase UCP2 expression in response to fasting, those grouped within the ‘increased UCP2’ or ‘moderate UCP2’ bands are likely to see the greatest improvements due to their heightened ability to access fat stores.

 

4. Complete long, low-intensity workouts

Due to the energy-dense content of fatty acids, accessing this fuel source is advantageous for endurance-based activity. Incorporating some long, low-intensity runs and cycles into your training schedule will help your body make the adaptation from targeting glucose for fuel to targeting fat.

If you don’t have the time (or appetite) for long, low-intensity training sessions, exercising in any form for at least 30 minutes a day has been shown to increase UCP2 expression and encourage fat burning. 

So, whether it’s hitting the weights, completing intervals, or simply doing work around the house, fitting in some daily activity has a positive effect on your fat burning potential.

 

Discover more ways to increase your UCP2 expression

Ready to discover if your personal DNA is linked to increased, moderate, or decreased UCP2 expression? 

Become a FitnessGenes member by purchasing your DNA analysis or DNA upload product today to unlock Fuel Usage (UCP2) alongside 120+ more health and fitness-related traits.

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